A dream of digging deep holes flashes through my mind. I awake. I am under a bed, lightly draped upon a pillow. Same as yesterday. I slide out onto the floor and saunter to my water dish. I look at the water for a long time, but do not drink. I walk to the living room. I look out the window and see a tree rat. I hate tree rats. I walk back to my food dish. I look at the food for a long time, but do not eat. I walk down the hallway, but my path is blocked by a large, ornate gate. Same as yesterday. I know not why, but I accept my limitations. I walk to the couch and jump up. Weary, I rest again.
I snap awake. This time, the dream that dances in my mind is of the tree rat I saw before. I hate tree rats. I feel an emptiness in my home, and know that my beloved owners have left for the day. This makes me nervous, but I know they will return. I return to the window. The tree rat has fled. I know he too will return. And I will be ready.
I find one of my baubles on the floor and bat it away from me. I give chase. I bat it the other way. This is great fun! I will have great fun for hours! I have great fun for hours. I return to my post on the couch and lay my head down in a ray of sunshine. I am not the spry pup I once was—I am already 2 years old. I must conserve my energy for later, when I am loosed from my home for a blessed stroll in the realm of the tree rats. They will know my name by the end of this.
What's this? I hear a jangling at my door! I leap from the couch and position myself as close as I can to the jamb. If I could put myself inside the door, I would. Alas I cannot. The walker at the other side of the door struggles to open the locks. He always struggles. Minutes pass. The door swings open and I welcome the walker to my home in the custom of my people: I jump on his legs and offer a polite, but firm, bark. He mumbles something in what I can only assume to be pidgin English, as I never understand him. I discern "Hello" and "Ellie" but that is it. I roll my eyes and wait for my decorative mantle to be laid upon my head. My walker picks up the performative rope so that he will be able to trail behind me, at a respectful distance of course, without getting lost. We disembark.
Or at least we will disembark shortly. The walker seems to struggle closing the door as well. The jangling resumes. I begin to walk down the stairs anyways. Mumbling erupts from the walkers gaping maw again. Sometimes I stop walking. Then again, sometimes I do not.
We exit my keep and begin the survey of my territory. It is a beautiful day for this. Initial observations of the land immediately outside my home turn up no tree rats. This is a very good start indeed. I exhaustively sniff at my lawns, bushes, and trees for evidence of the health of my neighborhood. I detect many different odors from many different subjects. The state of the union is very strong. Then, out of the corner of mine eye, I see a flash of blue. Could it be? Could she be back again?
My walker, his eyes covered with dark glass and oblivious to most things, clearly does not notice our fair fortune this afternoon. The lady in blue is a mere block and a half in front of us and he doesn't notice? Idiot. I begin to gallop forward. I reach the terminus of the performative rope and my progress towards the blue lady is impeded. This is a downside of the performative rope, but despite his ignorance I still would prefer not to lose my walker. He is much larger than me, and could prove useful in a pinch. We will get there soon enough. I continue my gallop in proud defiance.
We reach the blue lady and she mumbles to my walker in that same pidgin English. She gazes upon me and my chest swells. She reaches into her blue wheeled bag and reveals a beautiful, brown morsel of heaven. In her mumbling, I hear "Sit" and deign to her request—a matter of trivial importance in the face of this savory hors d'oeuvre. I devour the offering. I nod to the lady in blue and we depart again, sated and satisfied.
We perform several ceremonial loops of my lands and before I know it, we are back at my door. The walker fumbles with the jangle, but eventually gets us back inside. He removes the decorative mantle and perfomative rope and I walk to my water dish. I walk to the opening of the hallway. The walker has set up that damn gate again. I offer a bark of disapproval, but my mind is elsewhere. Something is nagging at me. I walk to my food dish. I stare at the brown bits. Something is wrong.
The tree rats. I didn't see any of them on our walk. Where were they? The nice weather and the early arrival of the lady in blue distracted me. We always run into a few on our walks, where the hell were they today. I run to the window. My mouth falls open. There, perched in my tree are a dozen of the fiends. Staring with those beady black eyes. Their ridiculous tails mocking me. I yell out "TREEEEE RAAAAAATS!" in an attempt to rouse the attention of the walker. His large, lumbering frame will prove useful in this pinch for sure. I hear nothing. I run to the gated hallway. I see nothing. He has gone. I run to the window. The tree rats have disappeared. What are they up to?
I return to my pillow under the bed for some quiet reflection. This has been quite a day.